Indoor Air Quality

Often indoor air quality can be worse than outdoor air quality. This can happen because of malfunctioning appliances like wood stoves, furnaces and hot water heaters or because water infiltration has allowed mold to grow.

To address community needs regarding indoor air quality monitoring, the Bishop Tribe’s Air Program continues to develop its capability in this area. Current sampling/monitoring capacity includes:

 

The instruments used are shown on this page. These instruments are portable/handheld and quiet. Occasionally, they are left to collect data in an indoor location for 24-hours.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is perhaps the most dangerous indoor pollutant. This invisible, odorless gas can be toxic at high concentrations. It is a product of combustion and can be generated from malfunctioning wood stoves, hot water heaters or furnaces.

Tribal members who believe that they may have malfunctioning wood burning or gas-fired appliances are encouraged to buy a high-quality CO detector alarm for their homes and operate according to the instructions provided, and seek advice from the retailer or manufacturer if needed. Residents can also contact their stove retailer or manufacturer, or contact the Air Office for best burning practices with wood stoves, as proper installation and efficient use can lead to a reduction in indoor CO pollution.

Pictured below on the right is an example of a CO detector that alarms if concentrations exceed safe limits. IMPORTANT: CO detector sensors expire in roughly 5 years and need to be replaced. They can be used in conjunction with the Tribe's Wolfsense DirectSense IAQ probe, picutred on the left, which collects a log of data that can be analyzed on-site or later to compare with other data.

directsense probe CO alarm

 

Carbon Dioxide

Like carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless gas. However, it is not considered toxic. It is a product of combustion and of respiration (breathing). Carbon dioxide readings, along with air flow readings, are used to determine if a building or room is adequately ventilated. The instrument below is a passive monitor that collects information on gas flow past a sensor. It can be used to provide a real time digital display or can be connected to a data logger for a longer period of observation. We cal also get this measurement with the DirectSense IAQ probe.

telaire monitor

 

Particulate Matter

Particulate matter pollution consists of very small particles that may become lodged in the human lung and that can exacerbate a variety of health problems, especially cardiac and respiratory conditions. The two most common sources of particulate matter on the Bishop Reservation are dust and smoke. In indoor settings, malfunctioning wood stoves are the primary source of concern. The instrument below collects information on particulate matter by drawing it through an insert that selects particles that fall below a size cut off (called aerodynamic diameter), it then measures the concentration using light-scattering methods.

dustscan monitor

 

Common Allergens

Sampling indoors for aerosols that include a variety of common allergens is unlike the other monitoring described on these pages, as it involves expensive outside laboratory analyses and is used only in special circumstances. Typically, a build up of indoor allergens is a by-product of an issue with the building itself, or how it is used and maintained. Unlike ambient (outdoor) monitoring results, indoor monitoring results rarely are compared to an official standard, but are compared to a pool of results using similar testing methods.

 

Temperature & Humidity

Temperature and relative humidity are typically collected as an adjunct to other measures to help complete the picture of conditions. The instrument pictured, called a thermo-hygrometer, is dedicated to this purpose and includes both a temperature and a relative humidity sensor. We also measure these using the DirectSense IAQ probe.

oakton hydgrometer